We’ve had some questions and comments from our partners recently about the process of creating and publishing responses for Windows Error Reporting, so I want to give you some information that will help you create quality responses that get published quickly and really help your customers.

I work on the team that approves and publishes responses, and if you’ve created more than a few responses, there’s a good chance that we’ve worked with you to clarify your response content at some point. Since clarifications add time to the approval and publishing process, I wanted to give you a checklist of things to look at before you submit a response, so that your responses will sail through approval and publishing.

·         Is the landing page straightforward and uncomplicated? Can you link to a better page, or better yet, a direct download? (The number one reason we clarify responses is that it links to a top-level page, like www.microsoft.com.)

·         Does the experience described in the template you used match the one that users will actually see? For example, if the template says a direct download is available, the linked URL should point to that download, not to a landing page that requires further action from the customer. Note that the templates you see on Winqual are only a subset of what is available.

·         Does a landing page link provide what is promised? For example, if the template selected promises an automated update tool, but the landing page for the response describes a manual update process that doesn’t use a tool, the message could be clearer.

·         Is the solution within easy reach of the user? The guideline we try to hit with every response is three clicks, including the main URL in the response itself.

·         Is your download as directly and easily usable as it could possibly be? Users have an easier time with an MSI than they do with a self-extractor or .zip file, for example, and the smaller the download, the better.

·         Does your response require More Info links? These should not be used unless the response does not work without them. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Any More Info link text will need to be localized, which means that the entire response be available only in English for 4-6 weeks
  • We found through our research that most customers just don’t see More Info links. Customers look for links in the body of the response.

These points cover the majority of response clarifications that we see. Of course, you might need input or have questions before you even create a response. We’d be glad to help you out. If you have any questions or any specific needs, let us know. Send email to WERCMS@microsoft.com, and we’ll give you a hand. Thanks for using Windows Error Reporting and letting us help you.

Kent Walter
Windows Error Reporting